Congrats to all of my friends - both offline and online - who are pregnant, adopting, or reveling in newborn baby bliss.
In honor of all of you, I'm going to digress from my regular content to share my top tips for planning the best baby shower ever:
DO host a shower for the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th time mom. It used to be that people scoffed at the idea of having a shower other than for a 1st time mom (some people still do). Me? I say: All babies (and moms) deserve to be celebrated, regardless of birth order. Also, I have no idea why people assume that parents don't need anything for subsequent babies. Clothes get stained, book pages get ripped, babies are born in different seasons, new products debut on the market, etc. These things are true even if the baby is the same gender as previous siblings.
DO have real fun. Here's a novel idea. Plan fun activities that the mom-to-be actually enjoys doing. Walk in a 5K together. Go to a scrapbook store and make albums. Have a make-your-own pizza party. Host a Wii tournament. Watch Jane Austen movies. Hike in the mountains. Etc. Think about what the mom likes and then plan related activities (do run it by her first).
DON'T play ridiculous games. I don't know about you, but I don't want to play Baby Bingo or Guess the Baby Food or Smell the Dirty Diaper or Give-Me-Your-Clothespin-If-You-Say-The-Word-Baby. If I get invited to a shower, I will play these games, don't get me wrong. But seriously? Let's all call a spade a spade. Those games are just silly (and not particularly fun for anyone).
DO open presents later. Speaking of spades, here's the truth: Opening presents in front of others is awkward for the recipient and boring for the giver. The mom-to-be has to respond to each gift with enthusiastic and cheeky comments, while the givers have to whittle away their time watching a string of oohs and aahs (when they could be conversing w/ the other guests or having fun).
DON'T embarrass the new mom. Never talk about how "big" the mom is or ask her uncomfortable questions about stretch marks or sex. In fact, it's probably best not to draw unneeded attention to the new mum (which is another reason why centering the shower around an activity is such a great idea).
DO take a lot of pictures. Have a backdrop and fun props. You can be the photographer yourself if you are handy with a camera...or hire a photographer for the event. Be sure to tell the guest-of-honor and attendees ahead of time so they don't walk in all sweaty in gym shorts and a ponytail.
DON'T post them on Facebook afterward. I repeat - Do NOT rush home and post all of the shower photos on Facebook. Most pregnant women don't feel exceptionally beautiful and radiant (even if they really are). So always, always ask permission before plastering their photo up for the whole world to see. In fact, that's a great rule of thumb for FB pictures in general.
There you have it. The BEST baby shower ever.
Oh, wait. One more thing. Have good FOOD. And P.S. - the menu doesn't have to be cake w/ heavy frosting and pastel mints. If you like that, go for it. If not, have root beer floats or western bacon cheeseburgers or vegetable lasagna.
Do you agree or disagree with my tips? What tips would you add? Tell us about the best baby shower you've ever attended or planned (and what made it special).